Toronto – The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is calling on the Canadian and U.S. Governments to formalize a plan to safely reopen the land border for fully vaccinated travellers for non-essential purposes. Policy decisions of this nature should be based in science, and there is no convincing scientific evidence that persons who meet the condition of demonstrating full vaccination, at least two weeks prior to arrival in Canada or the United States, “pose a risk of significant harm to public health” or present a “risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19.”
The land border closure, which has been in place since March 2020, continues to have a devastating financial impact on cross-border communities throughout multiple sectors. While the land border restrictions were initially implemented as a way in which to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, with increasing rates of vaccination in both countries, it is time that these restrictions are updated to reflect the progress being made and the most recent scientific data available.
With over 68% of Canadian adults having received at least one dose of vaccine and over 53% of American adults having been fully vaccinated, it is imperative that both governments develop a binational plan to permit cross-border travel for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a Health Canada and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved vaccine. Such a plan will also act as an incentive for individuals in both countries to become fully vaccinated of COVID-19 vaccine in a timely manner.
The latest scientific data from the CDC demonstrates that the chances of fully vaccinated individuals spreading COVID-19, also known as “breakthrough infections,” are extremely low. By allowing the science to guide policy decisions, the federal government and their American counterparts need to revise the temporary border agreement and permit Canadian and American residents, who can prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, to travel between both countries.
“Developing a revised, binational agreement on cross-border travel for fully vaccinated travellers is a critical step towards a gradual return to normal,” said Karen Huestis, president of the Canadian Snowbird Association. “The resumption of cross-border travel for fully vaccinated individuals will help jumpstart economic activity in sectors which have been severely impacted by the restrictions in both countries.”
This call follows a report issued last month by the COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel, which recommended that the federal government end the mandatory hotel stopover program and exempt fully vaccinated travellers from all quarantine and testing requirements other than an initial arrival test for surveillance purposes. The CSA is also calling on the Prime Minister and his government to immediately adopt the recommendations provided by the federal advisory panel in their report titled Priority strategies to optimize testing and quarantine at Canada’s borders.
The Canadian Snowbird Association is an over 115,000 member, non-profit, non-partisan organization representing Canadian travellers from across the country. The CSA works in partnership with government and business to educate and advocate on behalf of all travelling Canadians, helping to ensure access to safe, healthy travel with no restrictions on freedom of movement.